Cleaning Up

Lea Wait, here. Last weekend I was relieved and delighted to send the manuscript of the third in my Mainely Needlepoint series, THREAD AND GONE, to my editor.THREAD (What does it say about my publisher when they’ve finished the cover before I’ve written the book??)

I posted my news on Facebook and mentioned that I was going to drink some champagne to celebrate, and then do some housecleaning. Perhaps not surprisingly, a number of my friends didn’t find this plan exciting enough. Or “frivolous” enough, as one friend put it. “Not fun!” I’d worked hard. Now should be time to play!

I like that idea, I assure you. But, realistically, I will feel much better and more relaxed after I take a week or so to catch up with some housekeeping. Or, in some cases, “desk keeping.”

I’m not someone who keeps a pristine house. But I will admit that when I was in college my dorm room was on the “usually safe to show to prospective students and their parents” list. My bed was made, and they were pretty sure they wouldn’t find a half a tuna sandwich or a pizza box on the floor.

Some of my dorm mates may have thought I was uptight. But, actually, I was being practical. I’d known from a very young age that a) I worked better when I was in control of my environment (e.g. room) and b) if my room was a mess I’d take the time to clean it — or at least straighten it up – before I did my homework. So — to keep up with school work, I needed to keep my room/world (relatively) neat.

Fast forward to today. Although when I’m in the midst of writing a book my desk will be covered with papers and books, as soon as I type “The End” … my tendency to cleaning and organizing my notes for that book … and my plans for the next one … kicks in.

I file my notes for the book I’ve just finished. I update my “character Bible” for the series. I check emails and schedules to make sure I haven’t forgotten anyone, or any thing, while I’ve been engrossed in writing. I’ll jot down any thoughts I’ve had for the next book in the series, before I forget them.

If I’ve really been in a “write” mode, the rest of the house may also need a bit of help.

So for the past week I’ve been sorting and updating my office files, and cleaning the house. Not dusting or vacuuming …. really cleaning. All the kitchen cabinets, especially those I didn’t do last spring. (Spices dated 2003 really have to go.) The bathroom cabinets. (Medications that have expired … out!) My top bureau drawer, stuffed with everything my cat likes to push off the bureau.

It’s all about finished. Next on my list is to outline another couple of books in my Mainely Needlepoint, in hopes of getting a new contract. And then getting to work on my next book in the Shadows series, which is due September 1.

Lea's chair ... waiting.

Lea’s chair … waiting.

My drawers are now tidy, my file folders are labelled and easy to find.

And tonight I plan to take a long bath, and read Hank Phillippi Ryan’s TRUTH BE TOLD.

Tomorrow? I’ll start going through my “ideas” files for future books. Next project: here I come!

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8 Responses to Cleaning Up

  1. Gram says:

    Sounds fine to me…a hot bath and a book, you can’t celebrate better than that 🙂

  2. I agree with you about needing to have an organized workspace, but even when I have the time, serious housecleaning will never make it to the top of my to-do list. I’ve trained myself not to notice until the dust bunnies are bigger than the cats . . . and we have big cats! Congrats on turning in the book. And of course they’re going to want more. It’s a terrific series.


  3. I’m also kind of a neatnik, too, and understand the need to organize your life after you’re done with one big push before starting the next big push. I also get how a good house clean is simply essential at times before one can unwind.

    But really stopping–even for a day or two–can be so therapeutic. So read several books for the fun of it, Leah. And add a nice massage or other relaxing activity to that bubble bath. You deserve it!

  4. MCWriTers says:

    Thank you all! I’ve stopped my cleaning push (although I feel al the better for it,) and am about to start planning my next book(s). Onward!

  5. Ruth Nixon says:

    Loved this blog post because as a reader it let me know that there’s a new Shadows book coming along with the third Needlepoint book., and it’s cover is wonderful. I can clean but can’t write a book and you do it all plus live with an artist,wow..

  6. Congratulations on sending your book to your publisher- I love the cover!

  7. Lea, I go through the same thing. My house gets surface-cleaned when I’m deep into writing. Once the manuscript is sent in, it’s so therapeutic to clean a messy closet or attack the basement. Then I start the next book and let the clutter build again, knowing it’ll get taken care of, eventually.

  8. MCWriTers says:

    Mary Ellen – sounds like we’re twins! (In that way anyway!) And thanks, everyone for the congratulations — and, Ruth — where would writers be without readers? (Unpublished — that’s where.) We love readers like you.

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